FL - Pensacola eyes $46 million in Hurricane Sally recovery funding
Pensacola is pursuing $46 million from a new Hurricane Sally recovery grant program to fund three projects in the city, including the long-planned Hollice T. Williams Stormwater Park project.
The new grant applications will put the city in direct competition with Escambia County, which is considering five projects from the new pot of federal funds that are aimed at improving infrastructure to prevent damage in future storms.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity created the Rebuild Florida Hurricane Sally Infrastructure Repair Program with federal funds. The program sets aside $53.6 million for local governments in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
Each local government is only allowed to apply for three grants. Escambia County's current potential grant request total $68 million, but the County Commission will have to narrow down the grant request to three projects at its March 23 meeting.
Pensacola is choosing to apply for grants to finish projects at Hollice T. Williams Stormwater Park, the Port of Pensacola and the Fricker Resource Center.
The Hollice T. Williams Stormwater Park has been a long-planned idea for downtown Pensacola to transform the land under the Interstate 110 overpass into a park and stormwater treatment site.
Escambia County and the city partnered to design the project with the 2010 oil spill grant funding from the RESTORE Act. The design of the park was completed in 2021, but since then, the city has been left to piecemeal funding sources together to actually complete the park.
The Blake Doyle Skate Park, part of the larger Williams Park plan, is under construction. The city announced in December it had received $637,000 from the Florida Department of Transportation to fund a half-mile multi-use path at the park.
City spokeswoman Kaycee Lagarde told the News Journal that the city plans to submit an additional RESTORE Act funding request for the park soon.